Some legal experts and activists here today welcomed the Maharashtra Government’s decision to challenge in the Supreme Court the Bombay High Court’s verdict acquitting Bollywood super star Salman Khan of all charges in the 2002 hit-and-run case.
Former DGP D Sivanandan said this decision was “in tandem with the public perception.”
“There are thousands of good Samaritans who wanted justice for the two deceased — first being the accident victim and second constable Ravindra Patil — and also for those injured,” Sivanandan, who also served as Mumbai police commissioner, said.
“State government has paved the way for providing justice to the two dead people at least. First, the dead person in the accident and another is constable Ravindra Patil, whose statements was not considered seriously and who died during the hearing,” he said.
“There has been an overwhelming feeling that the victims received justice. Authoritative people were not coming out with their take on the judgement. But finally a stand has been taken,” he said.
“Now, the Supreme Court would assess and scrutinise the evidences and tighten the loose ends of the evidences procured during the proceedings under the Indian Evidence Act. It (SC) should now credit the FIR made by the constable Patil, immediate conduct of the man and accused on the spot should be given the credit along with important witness Kamal Khan’s statement should be given due credit.”
Sivanandan declined to comment when asked if he thought that Salman got the benefit in the case because he was a celebrity. He, however, said one should not pass any comment on the judge but any judgement is always “appealable” and government has done just the same.
Former TADA court judge P D Kode, who heard the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case and sentenced to prison actor Sanjay Dutt under Arms Act, said it was normal that the state discuss the judgement in a case like this and decide further course of action.
“Ultimately the prosecution for the serious offences are required to be conducted by the state and in such a case when judgement comes against the state, state would thoroughly discuss the matter and take further steps in the light of the records.”
Rights Activist Abha Singh, who had raised several questions even during the trial stage in the case, said this the state government’s decision to go in appeal in the apex court will certainly clear the conflicting issues and ensure that justice would be done.
“The high court judgement opened up more questions than it had resolved,” she said.
Singh said the High Court judgement did not bring justice along with it and now it would indeed go a long way in restoring the confidence of the public in our criminal justice system.